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My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Jesus forms the greatest commandment from two separate commandments: “you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole  strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5) and “you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18).  Jesus declares that all of God’s revelation — the law and the prophets — depends on these commandments (Matthew 22:40).

Love of God and neighbor is the foundation upon which every Christian must build his or her understanding of the Christian life.  This greatest commandment must motivate and guide everything a Christian says and does.  I believe that this commandment is a true statement of the mission of our faith community.

Looking to the teachings and deeds of Jesus, we discover that the most expressive act of Jesus’ love of God the Father and of neighbor was his crucifixion.  This sign of Jesus’ love for us tells us that we are valuable and loveable.  “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).  The cross is also Jesus’ invitation to us to help others by our love just as he helped us by his love.  “Love one another as I love you” (John 15:12).  Moreover, the crucifixion reveals that loving and saving people involves suffering.  “Conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ … not be intimidated by your opponents in any situation. … For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him” (Philippians 1:27-29).

Look to our own words and actions.  How have we willingly loved God with all our heart, with all our being, and with all our strength?  How have we willingly loved our neighbor as our self?  Now, look to the cross, give thanks, and choose today to love as Jesus loves.  Amen.

Peace and prayers,  Father Michael

 

 

Prayer of Pope Francis for the Synod on the Family

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendor of true love, to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection and division: may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth, may the approaching Synod of Bishops make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer. Amen.

Saint Katharine Drexel